When you're a salaried employee, whether you get a promotion and a higher salary is ultimately in the hands of your manager. As a freelancer, though, it is ultimately down to you. But what if you've been freelance for years and haven't significantly increased your take-home pay? Then it's time to do something about it.
In this article, we'll share five simple but effective tips for making more money as a creative freelancer. Follow them all, and you're sure to start bringing in more money for your freelance work.
These tips come courtesy of Studio's Business Amplifier, an eight-week course designed to increase your income and get you more projects you love. The course, which takes up just 90 minutes of your time each week, includes live workshops, peer mentoring and proven templates. By the end, you'll have a clear strategy for boosting your freelance income, so over time, the course should more than pay for itself.
In the meantime, here are five tips to get you started earning more money as a freelancer.
1. Write a life update
As creative freelancers, we're often looking for help and support from others, including new commissions, referrals or recommendations to new clients, glowing testimonials, and more. But if you don't want to come across as too pushy and sales-y, there are ways of getting that support without asking for it directly.
One method is to send around a 'life update' email, summarising what you've been working on lately, what changes have been happening in your practice, what you need help with, and so on.
As Brian Martinez, one of the co-founders of Studio, explains: "By sending a life update email, you give people an opportunity to check in with you and support you, without directly asking for support. And you can message hundreds of people at a time."
2. Share your availability on social media
Another good way to find new commissions and new clients is by posting on social media that you're available for work. We all know this in theory, of course. But be honest: when was the last time you actually did so?
"Often we're not receiving jobs because people assume we're busy, because our social media looks so busy," Brian points out. "But if we post on our media and let people know that we're available for opportunities, we open ourselves up to them."
Remember: you're much more experienced than you were when you first pitched to your older clients. That makes you more valuable as a freelancer, and that value should be reflected in a higher price.
3. Reach out to a select few
Writing to people directly, via text, DM or voice message, can sometimes be a little time-consuming. But there are a small number of people we know can make a big impact on our freelance career. And so, focusing on just these select few can pay huge dividends.
Brian suggests you: "make a list of five people that you feel could directly impact you; that could directly refer a new client, or that have referred clients to you in the past." Then consider: when was the last time you called up those five people? If it's been a while, then it's time to text, tweet, send an Instagram DM – however, you're used to communicating with the person – and set up a catch-up chat.
"You're not asking them for work, you're not asking them for business, you're not asking them to help you," Brian stresses. "You're simply checking in with them and asking if they'll take some time to catch up with you."
4. Increase fees for old clients
If you've been working for the same client for more than a year, it's time to increase the price you charge them. This feels unnatural to some people, but it's actually quite fair.
Other people increase the prices they charge us over time: consider how much you paid for groceries or energy bills a few years ago compared with now. So freelancers need to do the same.
Brian suggests you tell these clients your prices are going up across the board by 15 per cent. "But because they're a loyal client, you're only going to increase their prices by 10 per cent. It'll make them feel like they're getting a discount, but they'll still be earning more for doing the same work."
5. Pitch higher rates for new clients
As well as charging existing clients more, you should also pitch an even higher rate to new clients: Brian suggests 30-50 per cent more. Then see what the response is and negotiate from there. The important thing here is to stick to your guns and recognise that you are worth the increased price you're charging.
Remember: you're much more experienced than you were when you first pitched to your older clients. That makes you more valuable as a freelancer, and that value should be reflected in a higher price. So you're not 'trying it on'; you're simply trying to get the money you're worth.
Read more tips!
Like these tips and would like to hear more? Brian shares this and further advice in a series of videos on the Studio website, here – and you can also register for a free workshop. So what are you waiting for?